WORK AND CULTURE: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF OCCUPATIONAL ADJUSTMENT OF PUERTO RICANS IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES

TED LLOYD COX, Fordham University

Abstract

This is an exploratory study of the relation of social and cultural factors to success or failure in employment of a selected group of Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico and the continental United States. More specifically, it explores the relationship of degrees of occupational success to individual, family and community sociocultural patterns in the lives of the forty respondents. This "net" was used in order to discover what unknown factors might be associated with occupational success. The problem selected is broad and the research design deliberately exploratory and flexible, in order not to preclude possible avenues to unexpected findings and productive research.^ The methodology involved the selection of one previously studied town in Puerto Rico and a purposive sample of forty migrants from that town. Their work histories were studied in relation to selected social, cultural, and personality variables in an effort to identify which variables were related to occupational success or failure in the continental U.S. Extensive participant observation was facilitated by the fact that the author's research assistant was his wife and she was a native of the town selected.^ Apart from clarifying the general problem of Puerto Rican migrants and suggesting concepts and a conceptual framework for this purpose, there are the following findings based on the data collected during this study. Conclusions reached are tentative and not derived from evidence in the way expected when the hypotheses to be tested are all formulated prior to the collection of the field data.^ Contrary to some popular theories, the migrants are aided by at least some aspects of their traditional culture. The fatalistic attitude helps them to endure long hours of dull work and the emphasis on male independence (viva yo) helps the men compete for better jobs.^ Family factors normally considered healthy are associated with occupational success for the men. Unexpectedly, these associations reversed for the successful women workers. This is doubly important because of the neglect of female workers in other studies of modernizing countries. Indications are that family features which are normally detrimental to mental health produce the most successful women workers. Some possible explanations for this unexpected finding are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

COX, TED LLOYD, "WORK AND CULTURE: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF OCCUPATIONAL ADJUSTMENT OF PUERTO RICANS IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8323519.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8323519

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